The Mountains of Mourne are the ideal location for adventurers with hikes, climbs, kayaking and more in Northern Ireland.
With its stunning and dramatic mountain range, the Kingdom of Mourne has inspired writers and musicians for centuries. In fact, it was Percy French that wrote the famous song lyrics, “Where the Mountains of Mourne sweep down to the sea.” And if that line alone doesn’t capture your sense of adventure, we’re not sure what will.
Distinctive and self contained with summits crowned by granite tors, the Mourne Mountains are tucked away in the south east corner of Northern Ireland. An area of outstanding natural beauty surrounded by numerous forest parks, woodlands and splendid sandy beaches, is it any wonder it’s a playground for the avid adventure seeker and outdoor lover?
Planning an adventure in Mourne during your stay at Kribben Cottages couldn’t be any easier with so much to see and do within a short driving distance.
Reach New Heights – Rock Climbing in Mourne
A) Outdoor Climbing (aka the real thing)
The Mournes with its perfect granite and wide range of crags and routes is a rock climbers dream. Whether you’re a complete beginner or a competent leader there are a range of experienced Climbing Guides based in the Mourne area to help you reach new heights. If you have a specific objective or would like a more bespoke rock climbing experience out on the open mountain then private guiding is a great option. From introductory courses, learn to lead, guided classics and beyond, you can take your next step in rock climbing. Let your guides take care of you, while you enjoy pitch after pitch of classic rock and stunning scenery!
Private Guiding: Jonny Parr Climbing
Jonny Parr is a full time mountaineering instructor offering a full range of climbing courses , combining his local knowledge and experience to ensure you get the most from your time. Whether you have a particular climb in mind or would like to visit a new venue these highly tailored courses can be run throughout Mourne for as many days as your fingers can manage!
Group Sessions: Outdoor Concepts
For a group experience and activity package options, we recommend getting in touch with Outdoor Concepts. A fantastic company full of experienced guides waiting to take you on your next adventure in the Mournes.
B) Indoor Climbing (Hot Rock Style)
If you prefer to keep you feet a little closer to the ground while still getting a great work out and learning essential rock climbing skills, you might prefer to drop into Hot Rock, a rock climbing facility based in the Tollymore National Outdoor Centre on the edge of Newcastle. Less than 12 miles from Kribben cottages via the scenic coastal route, or 15 miles via the stunning country roads through the Cairn Hills with their beautiful mountain backdrop, the journey itself from Kribben is enough of a reason to visit.
At Hotrock there is a lead wall made from a textured fibreglass with rock like features providing over 40 different climbing routes ranging from easy to more technical and strenuous. The bouldering area allows individuals to climb without a rope and offers a wide range of technical problems with crash matting to soften the impact of falls, designed to encourage maximum participation for all abilities. Climbing equipment may be hired for use on the wall and there is no upper age limit but participants under 14 must be accompanied by an adult wall user.
Address: Tollymore National Outdoor Centre. 32 Hilltown Road, Bryansford, Newcastle. BT33 0PZ Contact: 028 4372 2158 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Cost: Approx £22 per child | £28 per adult; Including entry, hire of equipment & instruction from highly qualified and experienced staff.
Hike Between The Hills – Silent Valley Mountain Park
Less than five miles from Kribben Cottages and you’ll find yourself in the peace and solitude of The Silent Valley Mountain Park. The valley boasts beautiful parkland, lakes and ponds with a number of facilities including a visitor information centre, café, toilets and changing facilities as well as a play park and family picnic area. The valley is renowned for its huge reservoir, which was built to gather water from the Mourne Mountains. However the noise of the construction scared the local wildlife away, leaving the valley eerily silent for many years to come and therefore earning its name, The Silent Valley. Thankfully since its completion in May 1933 the birds and small animals have returned to nest and build their homes creating a wonderful wildlife habitat. As well as the wide variety of ducks in the valley, you might spot a few wild rabbits, majestic red kites or even some of the red squirrels, which have recently been re-introduced to the park.
Surrounded by a ring of mountains, The Silent Valley offers winding forest trails and paths suitable for the entire family, with a range of distances on offer from gentle strolls through the trees and around the duck pond and play park, to longer more energetic walks up the long tarmac road between the mountains towards the Ben Crom Dam, one of the greatest civil engineering achievements ever made and read about the local history and heritage of the Dam Builders and the local area. And if you’re feeling brave and energetic enough, you can take your walk to new heights and hike up the stone steps to the top of the reservoir… but only if have a head for heights!
Address: Silent Valley Mountain Park, Head Road, Kilkeel, Newry, County Down. BT34 4HU
1st April – 30th April: 10:00 until 18:30
1st May – 31st August: 10:00 until 21:00
1st September – 31st October 10:00 until 18:30
1st November – 31st March: 10:00 until 16:00
Cost: Car: £4.50 | Foot: £1.60 | Child: £0.60 | Coach: £27 | Minibus: £11
Kayaking, Coasteering and Open Canoeing
If you fancy yourself as more of a water baby, you can choose from a range of adrenaline boosting water based activities with the Life Adventure Centre, in Castlewellan Forest Park less than 14 miles from Kribben Cottages. With something for everyone you can go with the flow and have a relaxing time on the water with a fully guided Open Canoeing experience or ‘Sit on Top’ Kayaking. And if you’re feeling adventurous you can scramble, jump and swim over rocky shores, coastal cliffs and through sea caves with their fully guided Coasteering sessions! The choice is yours.
With prices starting from only £24 per person with private sessions and group rates available you might end up experiencing more than one fun filled water based activity during your visit. Prices include all sports and safety equipment and your friendly and professional guides.
Address: Life Adventure Centre, The Grange Yard, Forest Park, Castlewellan, BT31 9BU | Tel: 028 4377 0714 | Email: email@example.com | Prices: Starting from £24 per person.
Explore the Sand Dunes – Tyrella Beach
An ideal destination for locals and visitors alike, you will find the award winning Tyrella beach in Dundrum Bay, a short drive outside the popular seaside town of Newcastle. Park up and find your way to the winding wooden board walk, which will transport you from the hussle and bussle of the local traffic… to the tranquillity of Tyrella Beach. Over two kilometres in length, this beautifully sandy beach is backed by 25 hectares of mature dunes in a conservation area, offering scenic walks and an insight into local flora and fauna. Maintaining its Blue Flag Award since 2011 and its Green Coast Award since 2008, the clean waters invite water sport enthusiasts and the beach provides a safe haven for families and groups who wish to picnic in a clean environment.
Address: Tyrella Beach, Clanmaghery Road, Downpatrick, Co. Down. BT30 8SU | Opening times: The beach is open every day of the year. Beach centre and life guards on duty during the summer season | Cost: Free| Facilities: include wheelchair access and toilets on site. Special disabled parking on the beach can be arranged on request.
Discover Narnia – Kilbroney Forest Park
Family Friendly Trail
Discover the magic of Narnia, only a 30-minute drive from Kribben Cottages. It’s clear to see how our spectacular mountain landscape inspired famous author C.S Lewis to write The Chronicles of Narnia. As a young boy C.S Lewis spent much of his time in the Mournes and in particular Rostrevor, allowing him to dream, imagine and create the magical world where ‘The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe’ was born. You can experience a piece of the magic in Kilbroney Forest Park with a walk through their Narnia Trail. Starting and finishing in Kilborney Park, Rostrevor, the trail is a family friendly loop taking you on a journey through the local woodland and bringing to life the Chronicles of Narnia. You’ll find a number of statues and intriguing creatures featured along the route, but first, you’ll have to enter through the famous wardrobe door…
Kilbroney Park Run
Feeling energetic? Discover the beauty of Kilbroney Forest and experience the Narnia trails at a slightly faster pace by joining the weekly Kilbroney ParkRun, which takes place every Saturday at 9.30am. You can run, walk or jog round the 5km route by yourself, with friends or with family. It’s a great way to start your morning and an even better way to explore. You can keep up to date and find out more by visiting Rostrevor ParkRun on Facebook.
Address: Kilbroney Forest Park, 80 Shore Road, Rostrevor, Newry, BT34 3AA | Phone: 028 4173 8134 | Facilities: Play Park with children’s play area, tennis courts, an Information area, toilet facilities and a café.
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